On Twitter, we let our wit loose into the world. On Facebook, we showcase our social selves. On dating websites, we focus on our romantic side. And on LinkedIn, we carefully construct an image we wouldn’t mind an employer seeing—no photos from parties, no funny cat videos, no wisecracks. After all, it’s the professional social network, and using it means we consent to the general notion that it should be used for serious pursuits.
Serious social networks and serious pursuits require serious profiles. Yes, your LinkedIn profile picture counts and you should definitely look professional in it. Words count for a lot on LinkedIn as well. Let’s look at a few common problems and talk about ways to fix them.
Your Style Is All Over the Place
The way you write in your LinkedIn profile should be uniform. You should be able to write consistently in each section, using the same style conventions to avoid inconsistencies. Numbers, spaces after a period, punctuation marks before or after a closing quotation mark—all of these things and many more have to be the same throughout your profile. If you’re having problems with consistency, try using a style guide. Almost any of them will do, so just pick one and stick with it.
You’re Using Too Many Words
Even if you’re a novelist, you shouldn’t write novels in your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is not a place for anecdotes or flowery language. Think about it—the people you want to look at your LinkedIn profile are probably a business owners, managers, or recruiters. Don’t make them slog through a lot of unimportant stuff before they get the information they need (because they won’t bother). Put that information front and center so that it’s clearly visible and easy to read.
You’re Not Proofreading Your Profile
You cannot have spelling mistakes in your LinkedIn profile. We’re not just saying that because this is Grammarly and we have an awesome, free proofreading tool we’d like you to try out. You really can’t have any mistakes. If you can’t take the time to proofread your own profile, or if you’re not willing to invest in software or human proofreaders to look through your profile for mistakes, what kind of message do you think you’ll be sending to potential employers?
You’re Not Thinking About Keywords
Keywords are important. Search engines use keywords to determine whether to include your profile in search results. Keywords are also very easy to figure out—the most relevant ones are usually the title of your profession plus a variation or two, or maybe a word that’s closely related to your field of work. Here’s an example: you’re a flower arranger, and that’s your most important keyword. You can also add “flower arrangement” because that’s what you produce. That’s it—you have two good keywords.
Now that you have your keywords, make sure you mention them throughout your profile, but not too many times—it’s counterproductive and it might actually lower your rank in search results. The most important keyword should be listed as one of your skills. It should also be in your headline and mentioned once or twice in your summary. Make sure you include the other keywords here and there.
You’re Not Using LinkedIn to Its Fullest Potential
There are plenty of tricks that can help you make the most out of your LinkedIn profile. You can edit your profile URL so that it contains, let’s say, your first and last names and your profession. You can also edit the anchor text for the blog and website links on your profile. You can rearrange the sections of your profile to put the most important and impressive ones at the top. If you build your LinkedIn profile really well, you can convert it into a resume using the Resume Builder tool. There are plenty of additional tips and tricks for using LinkedIn. The more of them you know, the more useful the website will be for you.